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Michael Aw
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Michael Aw
About / Bio
Pursuing the art form of documentary photography, Michael AW is well known for his saturated colour imagery. His work on environmental issues, wildlife and eco-travel have been featured in BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Asian Geographic, GEO, Underwater GEOGRAPHIC, Nature Focus, Action Asia, Scuba Diver, Smithsonian magazine, Ocean Realm (USA), Times, Asia Week, DIVE, Unterwasser, Tauchen, and Aquanaut, to name but a few. His photographs have received more than 50 awards from several international organizations including the prestigious Nikon International Photo Contest on three occasions.
Michael AW is the founding director of OceanNEnvironment, a charity organization listed with the Registrar of Environment Australia. The mission of OceanNEnvironment promotes and initiates preservation projects as well as endeavors to document the status of coral reefs, bio-diversity and the impact of man-made pollution through research programs, and measurable conservation projects. With OceanNEnvironment, he has initiated the Napoleon wrasse protection program in the Maldives, turtle nest adoption program in Indonesia and Say No to Shark Fins campaign in the South East Asia. Michael is also the cofounder of Asian Geographic and publisher of Scuba Diver from 1998 to 2005, he used the magazines to support the conservation efforts of OceanNEnvironment. Taking conservation and education of the ocean to the next level, in 2007 Michael convened an editorial board comprising of Stan Waterman, David Doubilet, Emory Kristof, Gerry Allen PHD, Carden Wallace PHD, Alex Mustard PHD, Doug Perrine, Jennifer Hayes, and Christopher Lee to launch the hallmark of publication for the sea – Ocean Geographic.
Michael is a three time winner at the World Festival of Underwater Pictures, Antibes. In 2002 he won Best Music Adaptation for Video, the Gold Diver statue for Best Black & White print in 2005 and the Bronze stature for Portfolio the most prestigious category of festival in 2006. He is also a recipient of two awards from the Natural History Museum BBC Photographer of the Year Wildlife Competition in 2000 and in 2006 he won the Best Winner award in the underwater category.
Over 28,000 of his images have appeared in various publications and exhibitions worldwide including the Australian Museum and Queensland Tropical Museum. His repertoire of images extent from Antarctica, Australia, Andaman Islands, Burma, Fiji, Galapagos, Guadalupe, Indonesia, Micronesia, Maldives, Malaysia, Macau, Philippines, Papau New Guinea, Tahiti, Tonga, Thailand, South Africa, USA to Zimbabwe

Michael has presented lectures and slide presentations on eco travel, marine life and underwater photography to the Australian Museum Society, the Australian Maritime Museum, the Oceanographic Centre in Valencia, aquariums and private organizations in the pacific-rim countries including the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. He has produced and directed two 24-hour photographic documentaries of corals reefs in the Australian Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives in 1995 and 1999 respectively. These extended sojourns have been encapsulated in books and a broadcast video documentary for National Geographic.

His first book, 'Beneath Bunaken' about the marine park in Sulawesi received the accolade of being the Presidential 'Gift of State' for Indonesia at APEC 1994. Subsequently in 1996 he produced for the Maldives – “Dreams from a Rainbow Sea”, which was used as official gift for the president, fishery and tourism offices. The Four Season Resort Maldives also used this title as premier gift for their guests. He was the co-author and photographer for TANAH AIR, bio-diversity of Indonesia. He has authored 25 natural history books about fishes, corals, invertebrates and he has also contributed to the Encyclopedias of Malaysia and Indonesia. He has collaborated with Dr. Carden Wallace in one of the most definitive book about the staghorn corals of the Indo-Pacific. His recent accomplished include the launch of “Celebrate the Sea” and Underwater Jungles both high quality case-bound collectors edition published in 2002. In 2003 he completed “Richest Reefs – Indonesia”, a visual extravaganza from some of the most beautiful reefs in the world – this book is adopted by the Indonesian government as an official gift of state. A feature documentary of the same title was also produced in 2003. His most recent work is ‘Beneath North SulaweSea’ released in October 2006 with a world wide launch in Birmingham, London, Antibes, Orlando and Singapore. Michael Aw was awarded the prestigious 2008 Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award by SRI president Stan Waterman at 2008 Celebrate the Sea Festival in Manila. The award honors the memory of the late Peter Benchley is awarded for Michael’s a highly-effective and unrelenting campaign against shark fin soup consumption in the Asia Pacific region.

His current major undertaking is the launch of the ELYSIUM film and book project – which he is leading some of the world’s most elite nature photographers - David Doubilet, Emory Kristof, Wyland Ernest II Brooks to produce a feature documentary and book in the Antarctica Peninsula and South Georgia. The product of this project is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Sharkleton’s Endurance Expedition.
Member Type
International Fellow